We hosted a Baha’i Holy Day at our house last night. It was the Declaration of the Bab. The Bab was an important figure in the Baha’i Faith and a lot of the quotes and prayers we read were about who He was.
It was a sweet night for a couple of reasons. My in-laws were there, and they hadn’t seen my mother yet since moving to North Carolina. I always had this picture in my head of how my family and my husband’s family would interact with each other, I guess from the time I was a teen.
Their relationship hasn’t been terrible– it certainly hasn’t been as bad as some of our friends’ trials and tribulations with meshing families, but it hasn’t been ideal either.
After their last stay, my husband and I both talked to our respective families, gently I think, about a few issues, and I was really crossing my fingers that with my in-laws living here we could just be one big happy family, despite any cultural misunderstandings or differences, and despite any family member wanting to “look out” for the well-being of me and Payman. Anyway, long stories.
I just want our families to mesh and not think that the other one is somehow encroaching too much on our time and energy as a couple. You know, it’s not a competition.
And I think it is getting better. Both of our mothers hugged. My mother congratulated my mother-in-law on her new house, and her reaction and thanks seemed genuine. I’ll continue holding my breath that this affection continues. I think that some times in life, people just don’t realize how they come off. And I also think that simple misunderstandings should be forgiven.
I grew up with my father’s and mother’s families never seeing each other. No big, united family gatherings. That isn’t what I want for the family that I’ve started. But when we are going to dinner with one set of in-laws, often the other one doesn’t want to come. And no one will give any reason why.
The funny thing is is that there isn’t even a lack of affection persay— but two very different families expressing affection very differently leads to people thinking there is a lack thereof. Have you seen “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? It’s something like that. Many of the scenes in that movie are funny and familiar to me and my husband.
Either way, I think it will improve.
It was also a sweet night in the devotions that we had.
My favorite quote of the night was, “Look not, O people, at the things ye possess. Look rather at the things God hath sent down unto you. This, surely, will be better for you than the whole of creation, could ye but perceive it. ”
While reading about the Bab’s life, there was a quote about the people who believed in Him and what He taught. In Iran, during this time, the early believers in the Baha’i Faith were not received well by the rest of society.
“For this they suffered the most grievous difficulties and severe ordeals. They withstood the tests with wonderful power and sublime heroism. Thousands were cast into prison, punished, persecuted and martyred. Their homes were pillaged and destroyed, their possessions confiscated. They sacrificed their lives most willingly and remained unshaken in their faith to the very end. Those wonderful souls are the lamps of God, the stars of sanctity shining gloriously from the eternal horizon of the will of God.”
Now, in Iran, members of the Baha’i Faith are still persecuted. My husband’s parents fled the country and came to the US as refugees in 1978, just a few months before the Islamic Revolution that is responsible for the climate of prejudice against Baha’is that remains to this day. My father-in-law says that he could see what was going to happen. His home was set on fire, and his money at the bank was seized. They feared for their lives. He was one of many Baha’is this happened to.
Anyone interested should read a book called Olya’s Story. Quite a read.
Anyway, although the quote was about the early believers of the Baha’i Faith, it hits pretty close to home for them, and for many of us as Baha’is who are close friends with people that have been persecuted in their home land for their religious beliefs.
As he was reading the quote, my father-in-law was overcome with tears and there was something so sweet and poignant about it.
Azita just has such a rich heritage to learn about. Her grandparents were forced to flee their country to stand up for their beliefs. And now her grandfather, 77, living in a beautiful, furnished American middle class home, treasures her more than anything. And he is still so affected by these unfair life events. And he so wishes that she could see the country he comes from.
And she probably will one day. Things will change. The people of that country aren’t going to be oppressed forever. I don’t think she’ll go through anything like Roxana Saberi, just from wanting to see a little bit more of who she is.
And of course, on my side, she’s got a kilt-wearing, eccentric-ish grandpa. And my mothers side are good ole’ gardening, sweet tea drinking Southerners. And my husband can’t wait to take our kids to Grenada and show his girls the island that shaped who he is.
Our kids are gonna have a great life figuring our where they’ve come from.
And at the end of the night when I asked Azita why the Bab was special, she said, “He came to make the world a better place.”
That’s what it’s all about. My only real hope in life is that we can do that with and through our kids.